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Wishing for Real Pleasure

How long, forgetful of thy heavenly birth

Author: Anne Steele
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

How long, forgetful of thy heavenly birth,
Wilt thou my soul so fondly cleave to earth?
How long low-hovering o'er these seats of pain,
Wilt thou expect felicity in vain?
The joys of time could never be design'd
A portion worthy of the immortal mind.
What is it thus detains these wretched eyes,
Detains my heart whene'er it seeks to rise,
And holds back half my wishes from the skies?

When soothing fancy paints, with mimic art,
Her pictur'd joys to catch my cheated heart,
So fair, so bright the varied colours glow,
Almost they can disguise the blended woe.
But soon the momentary forms decay,
Steal from my gaze, and vanish quite away.
Convinc'd the flattering scenes are empty air,
Beneath my thought unworthy of my care,
Can I pronounce the gay delusions fair?

Earth's fairest pleasures which allure my sight,
Are but the fleeting shadows of delight!
Shall airy phantoms thus my powers employ,
Powers that were form'd to grasp substantial joy?
Shall vanity enslave this freeborn mind,
And chains of sense my nobler passions bind/
Alas in vain I strive, in vain I sigh,
In vain my fetter'd thoughts attempt to fly
And weakly fluttering mean the distant sky!

O thou whose eye surveys my inmost heart,
Thy grace, thy all prevailing grace impart,
Dissolve these chains which keep my soul from thee,
And bid this wretched struggling heart be free.
O come thou bright, thou everlasting fair,
Thou only worthy object of my care!
Thy dazzling beauties to my view display,
And earth shall vanish at the blissful ray,
Like night's dark shades before the rising day.

Immortal charms shall all my powers controul,
And fix each wandering passion of my soul,
Thy love the sacred source of endless joy
Shall all my heart and all my thoughts employ.
Earth would be heaven in such a state as this,
And time a foretaste of eternal bliss.
[p.91] But ah! how soon the charming vision flies!
Stay blest ideas, teach my soul to rise,
Nor let me wish in vain for heaven below the skies!

Source: Miscellaneous Pieces in Verse and Prose #89

Author: Anne Steele

Anne Steele was born at Broughton, Hampshire, in 1717. Her father was a timber merchant, and at the same time officiated as the lay pastor of the Baptist Society at Broughton. Her mother died when she was 3. At the age of 19 she became an invalid after injuring her hip. At the age of 21 she was engaged to be married but her fiance drowned the day of the wedding. On the occasion of his death she wrote the hymn "When I survey life's varied scenes." After the death of her fiance she assisted her father with his ministry and remained single. Despite her sufferings she maintained a cheerful attitude. She published a book of poetry Poems on subjects chiefly devotional in 1760 under the pseudonym "Theodosia." The remaining works were published a… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How long, forgetful of thy heavenly birth
Title: Wishing for Real Pleasure
Author: Anne Steele
Language: English
Publication Date: 1780
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.
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